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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The World Bank’s latest MENA report occupies Egypt’s talking heads

Commentary on the World Bank’s latest MENA report stole the limelight on last night’s talk shows. We had the full breakdown of the findings in yesterday’s issue.

World Bank numbers consistent with gov’t figures: Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr pointed out that a big part of the report’s supported the Sisi administration’s core message (watch, runtime: 2:36). He also took note of an ongoing visit to Washington, DC, by a group of senior government officials laying the groundwork for the president’s expected trip to DC on 9 April. We have more on the visit in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

The bank’s forecasts for GDP growth lean toward the “conservative” side, General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) head Mohsen Adel told Abou Bakr, who called the GAFI boss up to get his two cents (watch, runtime: 5:48). The government is expecting to achieve higher rates amid falling inflation and more breathing room for expansionary policy. Egypt has already outpaced the bank’s projections with growth rates of c. 5.3% in 1Q2018-2019, c. 5.6% in 2Q18-19, and will soon announce last quarter’s figure. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s “strong decision” to raise public wages will also provide an extra push in a timely manner, Adel added.

We are beginning to “tackle structural, legislative, and investment-related” impediments to growth, Banque Misr Vice President Sahar El Damaty said in a separate phone-in with Hona Al Asema’s (watch, runtime: 8:11).The bank’s positive forecasts paint a picture of industrial growth, job creation, and growth in investment and exports, El Damaty added.

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